17 November, 2015

Correlation is not causation

Like any other sentient being, I’ve had thoughts flying all over the place regarding the terrorist attacks on Paris over the weekend. Most of what I have to say has been said far better by many others but even so, I thought I would break things down for those who should know better.

Picking out a few characteristics of the attackers does not tell you how or why the attacks happened. It should be obvious, but from the look of many attitudes, it seems that some need reminding.

Yes, they were Muslim.
That doesn’t make it a Muslim thing. Nor does it make it a religious thing.

Yes, at least some of them were Syrian.
That doesn’t make it a Syrian thing.
It doesn’t make it an immigrant thing and it certainly doesn’t make it a refugee thing. Refugees are the ones fleeing murderous extremists.

And yes, one of them did travel as a refugee.
Out of millions.
So if you want to use this as a pretext to reject refugees, remember that you are already 4.5 times more likely to die falling out of bed than in any kind of terrorist attack, and that is before we even factor in terrorists who specifically masqueraded as refugees. If you still think that’s something worth worrying about, you probably think Powerball is a sound investment.

If we are serious about confronting the threat – and no-one is denying the threat – we have to stop bending the situation to our own prejudices.

It’s also a fact that they were all male, as are the overwhelming majority of terrorists of all creeds. Maybe it’s a male thing?

So why aren’t men being called upon to renounce terrorism or else be presumed sympathetic to terrorist causes?

They were all in their 20s. Maybe it’s a youth thing. Maybe we should lock everyone up until they’re 30.

Or would that be ridiculous?

=   =   =
A couple of other short observations:

  • If the US wants to stand with France, as they should, they could start by apologising for calling the French cheese-eating surrender monkeys when they refused to be part of the invasion that ultimately allowed ISIS to flourish.
  • To those who want to blame gun control: If you seriously think that a handful of people with concealed handguns could, in a large, dark, loud room, take out a bunch of fanatics firing Kalashnikovs indiscriminately, then you probably watch too much television.

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